“A…abor…abortion. Abortion!” Our eldest son was attempting to make out a large sign held by a man in the middle of the intersection. We were exiting the highway, sitting at a red light. “What does that sign say?” asked one of the kids. They were all intrigued as the sign was nearly as tall as the man himself, and there were images of developing fetuses on it. I found the entire thing to be a bit gruesome, but there it was right in front of us, and we couldn’t pretend we didn’t know what the kids were talking about.
Might as well hit the nail on the head. “It says ‘Abortion is homicide.’” I stated matter-of-factly. “What does that mean?” “It means, ‘Abortion is murder.’” I stated, again matter-of-factly. Then I added, “To murder means to kill someone or something.”
“Mommy, what is abortion?” Austin and I glanced at each other, paused, then launched into the most basic, untramatic explanation we could muster on short notice. On the pro-life side of this issue, we used the word ‘baby,’ to refer to any stage of development, whether early in utero or already born.
The response we got was on the verge of an uproar. Several of the kids looked appalled. They could all remember when our youngest, “Baby Lucas,” was an infant. He was still referred to as a ‘baby’ by them at times, even though he was now two and very much a toddler. Some of them were aware of Lily, our miscarried baby who died ‘when she was very little inside Mommy.’
“But…how can someone do that?” asked our eldest. I sensed his question had more to do with the legality of the issue rather than the reasons someone would choose to abort. I decided to answer both meanings. “Well, you are allowed to abort a baby if it is still very small inside the mother. In our country, many people believe it is the parents’ choice to allow the baby to keep growing or not. Some mothers don’t feel ready to have a baby, so they chose to abort.” I decided to put the issue up to a sort of informal vote. “Do you think abortion is OK?” A resounding ‘No!’ echoed throughout our van. Despite the abrasive approach of the sign we had just seen, which wasn’t appealing to me – even on the same side of the issue, I found myself agreeing with the sentiment.
Just for clarity, let me state that Austin and I are still pro-life even in cases of rape. We also support life for babies who are known to have genetic disorders like Down Syndrome. In cases where the life of the mother is at risk, we agree that saving the mother’s life should be the priority, though the situation is an exceedingly difficult dilemma. In all cases, the choice to carry the child to full term or not is uniquely challenging, as each parent has his or her own reasons for considering abortion.
Let me add to the complexity of this national topic. According to Siegel, criminologists note a substantial decline in America’s crime rate beginning around 1991. There are a few theories on why this is, but like most data trends, more than one factor is involved. Evidence suggests that this welcome trend is linked to the availability of legalized abortion from the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Steven Levitt and John Donohue’s research shows how crime rates began falling as the first group of potential offenders affected by new, easier accessed abortions would have reached peak age for criminal activity. The Donohue and Levitt theory proposes:
1. Selective abortions of a population at risk for criminal involvement removes children who were more likely to offend later in life. Additionally, these unwanted children would have probably experienced neglect. 2. As some pregnancies are removed, more services are available for those that remain (2019, Siegel, 2-2b Trends in Victimization).
I would like to assert that adoption is the opposite of abortion. Adoption says, “I accept you despite the circumstances surrounding your inception and life.” Abortion says, “I reject you because of the circumstances surrounding your inception and life.” In no way am I saying this is easy. It’s not easy for the parent carrying the child to term. It’s not easy for the parent choosing to adopt. It’s not easy for the child, but the child gets a chance at life; a chance to become who he or she was created to be.
With such a potentially divisive topic, I would like to end this post encouraging all of us to hold our negative judgments about the ‘other side,’ and instead find a way to be supportive. For me, with a pro-life point of view, raising my adopted children to the best of my ability is a way of honoring life. Additionally, there are many local crisis pregnancy organizations that need financial support and volunteers to keep their doors open. It is not my job to interrogate or accuse someone for choosing pro-choice. People have their own personal reasons for abortion and I am glad I have never been in a situation where I felt it was my answer. I want to mention, if you have had an abortion and regret it, get help; don’t live in the guilt. Find support, therapy, and a real, solid community of people who will accept you. Christ accepts you (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If you hold the pro-choice point of view, consider supporting adoptive organizations or families with special needs children where opportunity exists. Again, help out at a local crisis pregnancy center. America is a nation full of ingenuity, diversity, and courage. I firmly believe that together we can find safe homes and support for families so that none of these children need to be aborted. Embracing these future little ones does not have to increase our crime rate. We can find better ways to solve the underlying crime problem.
Siegel, L. J. (2019) Criminology: The Core, 7th Edition. Boston, MA: Cengage.